You are now reading my 800th-plus article. Every week, I have to come up with new, exciting and sometimes humorous ideas. Most weeks, I’m fortunate if I can achieve one out of three. But, I want to share with you how God uses this article to change the world.
I got a call one day from a soft-spoken man named Clayton Posey. He reads the Baptist Messenger each week and wanted to know if he and his wife could come visit me. We set up a meeting, and he began to unfold his story.
For years, Clayton lived and worked exporting lumber in the country of Suriname. During his time there, God did a mighty work among the jungle people known as Bush Negroes.
When I mention the country of Suriname, most people have no idea where it is. This small South American country, just north of Brazil, lies between two other forgotten countries, Guyana and French Guiana. Ruled by the Dutch until gaining independence in 1975, Suriname is as unique as it is diverse. Until the early 1800s, the Dutch colonists brought slaves from Africa to work in their coffee and sugar plantations. Many of these slaves escaped to the country’s interior. Here, they recreated their West African culture and acquired the name they bear to this day, “Bush Negroes.” From the original handful of escapees to more than 40,000 today, these people live off the land in nine different groups.
As Clayton began to tell us how God was working there, our hearts were moved. He told a story of a Saramaccan witch doctor named Anakay who had a dream in which God revealed Himself. He told Anakay His name was Jehovah and that He had a Son named Jesus. In that same dream, God told Anakay to throw all of his witch doctor and sorcery tools into the river, so he obeyed. Next, God told him that one day, a man with a black book would come and tell the people more about Jesus.
When Anakay reported this dream back to his people, they kicked him out of the village, fearing an evil spirit had come upon him. From then on, he prepared his family for the day the man with the black book would arrive. Sixty years later, a man showed up with a black book and said he had come to tell them about Jesus. Not sure if this was the man God had spoken about to their grandfather, they asked, “What is the name of Jesus’ Father?” and he responded, “Jehovah.”
From that day forward, this village embraced the life and teachings of Christ. But now, they want to evangelize the other villages and need help. This spring, our ministry sent Chad Thompson, vice president of Awe Star, to Suriname. There, he met the witch doctor’s grandson, now the pastor of the church there. This pastor invited us to join him in reaching the other Bush Negroes who live deep in the interior of their country. This summer, we will send a team of students to live and work there for five weeks.
It may take you a moment to understand the full scope of what happened. First, God revealed Himself to a witch doctor in the interior of Suriname. Sixty years later, a man with a black book showed up and began to tell them, as Paul Harvey used to say, “The rest of the story.” A man from Oklahoma who worked in Suriname met the man with the black book. He used his business to help build community centers that will be turned into churches when the Bush Negroes embrace the gospel message. This man, Clayton Posey, knew the Bush Negroes needed help to bring the vision to fulfillment. By reading these articles, he knew I was a missionary. He contacted us, and soon, Awe Star will serve in the country of Suriname.
What is even more incredible is that some parents who read this article will talk to their children about this trip. And this summer, because of all the connection that centers around this article, people who have never heard the Gospel will come to Christ, and the church will be established among the Bush Negroes.
That, my friend, is how big a God we serve! If you have a child 16 or older who would like to join Team Suriname and head upriver to live and serve among the forgotten Bush Negroes, please contact Awe Star Ministries. You can find more information at www.awestar.org, or call our office at 918/664-3500 and talk to one of our mission counselors.
God is still writing the rest of the story. Will it include you?